We got to the hotel around 8 pm on Friday night and it didn't take long for Equestrian Girl and I to decide we were tired and really wanted to go to bed. Much of the team that had drove in from Findlay had gone to dinner at a nearby restaurant - at 9:30 they were JUST getting done so we were glad to be in our PJ's and ready for bed.
The next morning, we were up early and ready to go. Most of the mom's piled in my truck with me and the chairs we loaded in the back. We left the girls behind with Coach Mark to supervise them getting hair and makeup done at the hotel before heading to the cold barn.
It was dark when we pulled up - about 7 am - and the driveway was crowded so we unloaded all the gear and then I drove the truck to a day care facility nearby to park as we were instructed. The hayfield they usually used for over-flow parking was flooded from all the rains and although it was frozen at the moment, we weren't sure how much it might thaw out during the day and leave everyone stuck in the mud.
Walking back from the parking lot, the moon was just setting.
A few minutes later as I walked up to the barn (you can see the tiny lights on the buildings) the sun broke the horizon. It was crisp and still and a beautiful morning.
Inside it was just cold. The "audience" huddled in lawn chairs with blankets and hand warmers.
Equestrian Girl was in the second class - intermediate horsemanship. She mounted up on her assigned horse and was one of the first ready to go as the sun started streaming in through the windows behind her. She was freezing and Coach Mark ended up putting his coat on her for a few minutes until the other kids were ready to start.
The sun created crazy beams and shadows but it wasn't enough to hide our girl's great equitation.
Having mirrors on the walls gave her a quick chance to check herself when the judge wasn't looking.
She looked beautiful in her new horsemanship shirt. Kelly Gross made the shirt, Cathy Pike did the airbrushing of the red stripes, and Equestrian Girl did all the rhinestones and the actual design.
Finally they were done and lined up to dismount for the next class to take over the horses.
And as Equestrian Girl hiked up her chaps, they announced she was #1!!! Her first official IEA meet and she took first place in her class. It had to be a good feeling.